Stop! Don't Toss These 13 Secretly Handy Disposables

Why doom single-use cooking utensils, cleaning supplies, and grooming essentials to the trash? With inspiration from these 13 DIYs, you can repurpose everyday disposables into indispensable home wares.

  1. Fresh Footed

    Dryer Sheets to Deodorize Shoes

    After they’ve done their job in the laundry, put spent dryer sheets to work deodorizing smelly shoes. Place half a dryer sheet inside your malodorous footwear and leave in place overnight. In the morning, the offending smells will be replaced by a fresh and clean fragrance!

    Related: 9 Things You Didn't Know Dryer Sheets Can Do

  2. Mesh Well

    Kitchen Scrubber from Mesh Bag

    Give do-nothing mesh produce bags from the market a second life at home as your ultimate cleaning companions. Trim the ends of four mesh bags, then roll three into the shape of a donut, leaving the fourth unfurled for the exterior. Fill the unrolled bag with the other three, then knot the end to put the homemade scrubber to work in the kitchen or bath.

    Related: 10 Unusual Tips for Your Cleanest Kitchen Ever

  3. Light Lunch

    Milk Carton Lunch Box

    The humble plastic milk jug makes an artful transition from breakfast champion to lunchtime savior through this reimagined lunchbox. To make one for yourself, cut out a portion of an empty gallon-size milk jug to form a container with a flap. Then, just sew a button on the lid and feed an elastic hairband through a hole pierced in the front panel for secure storage for your lunch on the go.

    Related: 21 Money-Saving Tricks That Every Homeowner Needs to Know

  4. Rekindled Spirits

    Wooden Chopsticks as Kindling

    Good for more than digging into your favorite entrée, those wooden chopsticks cluttering your take-out bag can also lend a hand at your next barbecue. Break the chopsticks into fragments and feed them to a fledgling fire to stoke the flames. Be sure to reserve the sticks' paper wrapper—they make ideal tinder!

    Related: 21 Brilliant Hacks for Everyday Home Repairs

  5. On-the-Fly Feeder

    Plastic Bottle Birdfeeder

    Keep the recycling bin empty—and your nesting neighbors full and happy—with this bird-feeder-in-a-bottle. Pierce two sets of holes through opposite sides of an empty plastic soda bottle. Then, stick a wooden dowel (or spoon, as shown here) through each set of holes. Fill the bottle with birdseed and seal it, then twist a length of floral wire around the neck to serve as a hanger. When you hang the feeder on a branch or outdoor hook, your winged friends are sure to swoop in for a treat!

    Related: The 10 Best Bird Feeders for Your Wintertime Yard

  6. Spoonful of Color

    DIY Plastic Spoon Mirror

    Why splurge on a pricey decorative mirror when you can DIY this low-cost look-alike? Hot-glue a large MDF wreath form to a piece of foam core cut to the same diameter. Glue a smaller MDF wreath form in the center, then spray-paint the entire assemblage. Cut the bowls from a bunch of plastic spoons, spray-paint them, then glue a row along the outside edge of the wreath. Glue a builder-grade mirror to the center of the  wreath form, then glue down more layers of painted spoons until the design is complete—and ready to hang!

    Related: 20 Best Ways to Spend $20 on Your Home via Preval

  7. Foiled Again

    Aluminum Foil Scrubber

    If your countertops are cluttered with scraps of aluminum foil, crumple the pieces into a wad that you can use to scrub away baked-on food from pots and pans. Or, drop a few pieces of foil into a pot of boiling water and baking soda to whip up a homemade silverware polish. Use any remaining foil to sharpen dull utensils: A few cuts into a rolled-up piece of foil will put an edge on dull kitchen shears or craft scissors.

    Related: 11 Home Hacks You Can Do with a Bag of Groceries

  8. Needle Your Way In

    Organize Yard with Yogurt Lid

    You don’t have to be a whiz with a needle and thread to keep unruly yarn under wraps. Using a utility knife, cut a crisscross pattern into the center of a clean yogurt lid. Then, pull the loose end of a skein of yarn through the opening in the lid to prevent knots and tangles from slowing things down during your next knitting project.

    Related: Bob Vila's Best DIY Projects for Beginners

  9. Single-Serve Decadence

    K-Cup Advent Calendar

    Have a mountain of leftover Keurig K-Cups? Cut the clutter by upcycling them into this no-average-Joe Advent calendar. Start by punching two-inch circles into holiday-patterned paper, then sticking adhesive numerals to the circles. Tape each circle on top of a clean K-Cup filled with candy. Hot-glue the cups to a cardboard tree cutout to finish the calendar—and start the holiday fun!

    Related: 13 Clever Alternative Ways to Use Coffee Filters

  10. Soil Survivor

    Plastic Fork Pest Repellant

    Who knew? The unassuming fork is as handy in the garden as it is at the dinner table. Stick the handles of plastic forks in the soil where rabbits, mice, or stray cats tend to prowl. The sharp tines will keep these and other pests at bay, protecting your fledgling plants from damage.

    Related: 19 "Zero Dollar" Garden Hacks via zeevveez

  11. Wool Power

    Disposable Razor for Fabric Pills

    Transplanted from a bathroom drawer to a bedroom closet, disposable razors can become your best weapon against unsightly fabric pills. Drape sweaters, socks, and other wool wear over a flat surface, then gently glide the razor blade over the garment to lift the fabric pills and clean up your wardrobe.

    Related: 9 Brilliant Cleaning Hacks Everyone Should Know

  12. Turn Over a News Leaf

    Newspaper Seed Starter

    Turn yesterday’s news into today's attention-grabbing indoor garden. Using a standard tin can as a template, wrap and fold old newspaper into a cup shape. When filled with dirt, and stationed in a seed-starting tray near a window, the practical pot provides freshly planted seeds a place to sprout, then melts away when planted directly in an outside garden bed.

    Related: 14 Totally Free Ways to Start Your Own Garden

  13. If the Cap Fits

    Bottle Cap Wind Chime

    Passersby will never guess that the whimsical sounds emanating from your yard are the work of this bottle cap wind chime! Copy the outdoor ornament by drilling small holes to the lip of a jar lid, then fastening strands of bottle caps and beads to the lid to bring pleasant sounds to your windswept garden.

    Related: 10 Ways to Buy Better Curb Appeal for Under $50 via Windchimz

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